Oh, Canada! Here Comes the Manufactured ‘Pro-Life’ Outrage

by matttbastard

Hot on the heels of the recent bestowing of the Canadian Labour Congress’ Award for Outstanding Service to Humanity, CBC News reports that pioneering abortion rights activist Dr. Henry Morgentaler is now slated to be appointed to the Order of Canada:

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who led the fight to legalize abortion in Canada, was supposed to be honoured Monday, but the ceremony has been delayed for unknown reasons, a government source told the Globe and Mail.

The honour, considered the highest in the country, is announced by the Governor General on the advice of an advisory panel.

Conservative MPs on Monday did not directly confirm the news, but stressed that appointments to the order are not made by cabinet. Nine people, including two government appointees, sit on the Order of Canada panel.

MP Maurice Vellacott, a Conservative from Saskatchewan who opposes abortion, told the Globe and Mail that he heard Morgentaler’s appointment was not unanimous.

“This is a pretty divisive issue,” he said. “I think we can all agree on that, so why would we have the highest honour in the country being issued when there is obviously a strong difference of opinion about it?”


Morgentaler, a trained family physician, argued that access to abortion was a basic human right and women should not have to risk death at the hands of an untrained professional in order to end their pregnancies.

Morgentaler’s clinics were constantly raided by his opponents, and one in Toronto was firebombed. Morgentaler was arrested several times and spent months in jail as he fought his case at all court levels in Canada.

His victory came on Jan. 28, 1988, when the Supreme Court of Canada struck down Canada’s abortion law. That law, which required a woman who wanted an abortion to appeal to a three-doctor hospital abortion committee, was declared unconstitutional.

Cue the expected weeping and gnashing of teeth from outrage-addicted Canucklehead wing-nuts, courtesy Dr Dawg:

I was going to let this go and just party today, but reading the drivelling hatred oozing from the nut-o-sphere this morning has delayed my plans.

I’m referring to the speech-warrior crowd, the people who stand up for freedom in our Stalinist wasteland, who freep the hell out of newspaper polls, who can’t even spell the name of the person they hate, the folks who make sleazy references to Morgentaler’s Jewish ethnicity.

Yup, it’s all the old familiar faces. There’s Binky, aggregating blogposts about the Mark Steyn auto-da-fé, now dutifully directing us to various vicious anti-Morgentaler posts. Funny how the taste for freedom dissipates when women’s rights are at stake. Funny how the bigotry kicks in.

Yes, that is interesting, innit? I’d once again say something about irony’s untimely demise, but I think I’ve already buried that particular line of snark six feet under (and then some). Hey, flogging a dead horse is just too cruel, even for a baby-hating feticide-apologist like yours truly (yes, I really do think).

Maclean’s columnist Andrew Potter [almost] right [except for the part about there being “no other serious champions” for reproductive freedom]:

Dr. Henry Morgentaler risked his reputation, his freedom, and his life for decades in service of a cause that had no other serious champion in this country.

He is a remarkable man who has lived a remarkable life. He deserves to be a member of the order of Canada, because, more than the vast majority of members of the Order, he has lived his life according to the motto inscribed on the medal: He desired a better country.

Or, as JJ puts it (as only she can):

I don’t give a happy monkeyfuck if “others fundamentally disagree” — they can get stuffed. Dr. Morgentaler has contributed more to Canadian women’s right to self-determination than any other individual, and has risked his life and his freedom doing it. Before he stood up for our rights, our reproductive business was dictated by the state and whatever sex-obsessed authoritarian busybodies had its ear. Not acceptable: never was, never will be, and Dr. Morgentaler sealed the deal. His Order of Canada is long overdue… .

A-fuckin’-men, sister.

Look, I’m not one for overt displays of patriotism, nor for possessing much in the way of ‘pride’ in my country (as opposed to hope for humanity in general, regardless of national borders). Still, giving this particular honour to someone who essentially put his career–and his life–at risk to ensure that a Canadian woman’s right to bodily autonomy is not constrained by the State makes even a staunch internationalist such as yours truly feel a twinge in ye olde chest cavity of–yes–proud nationalist sentiment–either that, or the kielbasa I ate earlier is repeating on me. In any case, don’t expect ol’ matttbastard to take a page out of Uncle Steve’s good book and start asking ‘God’ to bless Canada (although I do reserve the right to hypocritically say ‘gesundheit’ when someone sneezes in my presence).

h/t skdadl and dBO, who offers the following wry observation in response to Liberal MP Dan McTeague’s claim that “[t]he Governor-General and the committee advising on appointments to the Order of Canada have always been careful in the past not to choose people who were controversial or who would not be unanimously celebrated by all Canadians”:

One of the commenters at JJ’s reminds us that last year, there was a choice for the Order of Canada that was controversial and affronted the fundamental rightwingnutters and fetus fetishists: the Rev. Brent Hawkes.

But-but-but what about divisiveness? Or the dead babies? FOR GOD’S SAKE WON’T SOMEBODY PUHLEEASE CONSIDER THE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DEAD BABIES?1?!!!11interrochittychittybangbangone

Background: more from CBC News:

Update: via Bruce and JJ: it’s official:

Henry Morgentaler, C.M.

Toronto, Ontario

Member of the Order of Canada

For his commitment to increased health care options for women, his determined efforts to influence Canadian public policy and his leadership in humanist and civil liberties organizations.

Congratulations, Dr. Morgentaler.

Update 2: More from Dave at the Beav on McTeague’s bogus contention re: anodyne OoC selections.

Update 3: More cork-popping from April, JJ, Bruce, and Dawg.

Update 4: Get some bubbly at The Stormy Days of March, thought,interrupted by typos, and Canadian Cynic.

Also, Scott Tribe in comments at Kuri’s place provides the following (scroll down, second comment):

Actually, you and everyone else should also thank Beverly Mclaughlin, chief justice of the Supreme Court, for waiving the normal requirement of a vote having to be unanimous for the panel to pass along the recommendation to the G.G.

Great. I can already envision the endless parade of unhinged harangues against our tyrannical judiciary this bit of news is sure to provoke.

Update 5: Hysperia reminds us that, while this is indeed a laudable occasion, we should try not to get too caught up in the celebrations. We still have quite a ways to go before universal access to reproductive services in Canada is achieved.

Update 6 07.03: Renee @ womanist musings on Morgentaler and the importance of reproductive liberty for lower income women.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

28 thoughts on “Oh, Canada! Here Comes the Manufactured ‘Pro-Life’ Outrage

  1. Excellent news. Having it announced on Canada Day is just PRICE LESS!!!

    I bet the fetus fetishist are crying into their 6 packs. Hope they wipe away their tears before handling their gas BBQs. Wouldn’t want any of them to get burned twice in one day :-)


  2. Well … I do believe it’s time to get this party started.

    And the fact that it’ll put teh fetus-fetishists into full-blown, wingnutty ragegasm? Bonus hilarity.


  3. I’m so glad! I hadn’t heard. It took a lot of work and along time, but it makes me feel a teeny bit of pride too, that Canada is recognizing Henry Morgentaler. He’s very ill and I do so wish him well. I hope he gets some pleasure from this recognition.

    THANKS mattttttt!


  4. Happy Canada Day, Dawg!

    BY: I bet they’re wishing they’d sprung for a two-four now.

    Lu Lu: check out the crosspost, LuLu — Blazingcatshit just compared Morgentaler to David Ahenakew.

    Yep, nothing says ‘cognitive dissonance’ like comparing a Holocaust survivor (even one who has committed motherfucking GENOCIDE!!!1) to an antisemite.


  5. Oh. My. God.

    That’s hilarious … just when I think teh wingnuts have hit rock bottom when it come to false equivalencies, they promptly start to dig.

    Thanks Mattt – I haven’t laughed this hard in days ;-)


  6. Excellent post, Mattt. Today we celebrate. Tomorrow we stand in awe at the shrieking and whining of wingnuts in the throes of a mass-persecution high…

    This is so reminiscent of the moment Dorothy threw water on the wicked witch.


  7. Nice try, Neil.

    What I want is this country’s highest honour to be bestowed upon a man who believes in a woman’s undeniable right to control her own body. Wait a second … that’s what just happened. Cool.


  8. Do you really want in the country’s highest honours list a man whom half the country (rightly or wrongly) thinks is a murderer?


    This has been yet another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.


  9. “Do you really want in the country’s highest honours list a man whom half the country (rightly or wrongly) thinks is a murderer?”

    Half the country? LOL, not even close. 20% at best. And so what? They’re wrong.


  10. Good gawd Neil. How many places do I have to see your same asinine comment in?

    Morgentaler is a LIBERATOR.


  11. I was very excited when I found out that he received the award. Not only did he fight tirelessly for a woman’s right to choose his actions saved lived and that is what these pro-birth wingnuts refuse to acknowledge. Whether or not abortion is legal women are going to continue to have them. Having an abortion performed by a trained medical professional reduces incidents of self harm due to the insertion of objects knitting needles, or infection.
    Having the right to choose can also make an economic difference in the life of a woman. It is a well known fact that women who live alone with children largely live in poverty. Being able to choose when or even if to become a parent allows women a chance to direct their lives. As much as this is an autonomy issue it also aids in the reduction of poverty.


  12. Thanks Matt it was a rough time for me over there. I never really appreciated how great your own space can be until you leave it.


  13. It is painful to me to read all these utterly ignorant posts from militant abortionists who lack a fundamental understanding of the human condition. The reality is that all human beings have a fundamental natural right to live a full human lifespan and to live according to our nature. As placental mammals we are required by our biology to live for nine months in the bodies of our mothers. Any moral philosophy must be based on this biological reality; otherwise, it has no basis in anything and is null and void. The abortionist mentality states that all human beings can be exterminated in the first nine months of our lives and that each one of us can be deprived of our entire human lifespans. What logically follows from this is that we do not have a right to our human lifespans and therefore can be killed at anytime in our lives. Also, since all our rights are derived from our basic right to live a human lifespan in accordance with our nature, if we do not have that basic right, we logically cannot have ANY human rights and therefore no “right” to commit acts of criminal abortion. The abortionist mentality therefore leads to a contradiction, a paradox and any assertion of this inhuman mentality thereby destroys the mentality. The abortionist mentality is therefore logically impossible and cannot exist. All this talk about a woman’s “right to self-determination” is empty and indefensible, because women and men, following from the abortionist position, have NO right to live and so CANNOT have any human rights at all!

    The abortionist mentality is not and never has been a serious attempt to find and follow the truth. The whole abortionist movement throughout its dark and terrible history has been all about and only about serving the self interest of and satisfying the psychological needs of upper class and counterculture people who feel an intense need to have this violence available.

    If the abortionist movement had any intellectual honesty (which it does not) it would admit that this biologically unnecessary and unnatural violence against helpless human beings is completely immoral and criminal.


  14. Joe, I would say that if it is as painful to you to read “militant abortionist” posts, stop reading them. It’s equally painful for me to read yours. By far the majority of Canadians and Americans have a very different view than yours. Yet your voices are everywhere loud and insulting. When you use words like “extermination”, you are projecting your morality onto me. You have a strong belief and you are very, very welcome to it (though I feel sorry for any woman who has ever been in or passed through your life – there will have been women who needed your support as they made the decision to have an abortion, you can be sure of that – you can also be sure that they found a way to get one – safely or otherwise). But it is not your right to enforce your morality on my behalf or to force me to live by it.

    Abortion is not just an issue that affects upper class, counterculture people, though there certainly are issues of access that affect people with less money, to say nothing of the reduced choices available to poor women who can’t afford to raise children and have abortons because they truly have no other choice. Abortion has been a fact of life since life began. Do some research. I seek only a regime in which abortion is not criminal and in which any woman who so chooses can get one safely. I seek also a humane system that cares for all women, children, men and families and gives them the full ability to make real choices.

    Given that a huge number of pregnancies end in the toilet before a woman even knows she is pregnant, I suggest that, following your so-called logic, we should all be lighting candles around our toilet bowls.

    And in case you haven’t noticed, there is nothing at all criminal about having an abortion.


  15. This is a difficult issue as it brings out emotional responses on both sides. I disagree with way that Justice Beverley Mclaulin rammed the appointment through & ignored the nine member panel’s tradition of unaninity. I do not feel it is right to make special consideration for Dr. Morgetaler simply because he is a personal hero of Justice Mclaulin. I think this diminishes the process & devalues the honour of the award. Whether or not you agree with Dr. Morgentaler, the process by which the decision was made was inappropriate.


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